Before we understand how we can build the virtue of confidence in children, lets understand what is it that may lead to kids not being confident. The most important factor that inhibits confidence in kids is a sense of FEAR and Self Doubt.
When the kids are very young, they are natural and fearless. So what happens as they grow that creates such deep rooted emotional fears and complexes? Kind of theories the child forms while growing are surely influenced by us as parents and immediate family, their friends and the education system they are exposed to.
Many parents argue that if we have two children, while one child is fearless and confident the other child is shy and has self-doubts. Then how the parents are responsible for the kids’ failures?
Instead of trying to be good parents or good teachers or good friends, if we focus on being Effective Parents, or Effective Teachers or Effective Friends, our role in affecting a child’s mindset in a positive way will change dramatically.
So how do we build confidence in children or I would rather say, “Build children in a way that their confidence is not hampered as they grow”.
The following are the key aspects that will help in nurturing the kids with lot of self-esteem and love as they grow and take on new tasks:
- Attention and active involvement
- Constant progressive feedback
- Mechanism to provide right skills
- Provide discomfort
Also it’s not enough to do just one or two out of the four steps. Instead all the four steps need to be followed continuously in all the aspects of the child’s learning process.
Attention and Active Involvement
Children attach their self-worth based on the kind of support they receive from their small little world that revolves around family, teachers and friend, especially in the initial growing years.
Attention and active involvement in their development, are the two ways to support a growing child. Depending on the child’s age, parents need to find the balance in their active involvement in kids’ activities. Though the level of active involvement may change, there can never be any good replacement to parents involvements in the form of relatives, elder siblings, maids or any external source.
Attention provides the kids necessary assurance to feel emotionally and physically secure. Children who feel secure come out more confident in their activities than the children who are not. Children who are not emotionally secure either shy away completely or come out very aggressive on their peers.
Attention and active involvement also enables us to observe our children effectively in every situation. Right observation of any trouble behavior in kids is the first step to work towards building an effective solution.
Constant Progressive Feedback
Parents always wish that their kids do well in every field, however they actually don’t direct them on HOW to go about doing the same. Age old method is usually putting loads of random comments on the child. “Look at your elder sister, and look at yourself.” “See your friend has got medals but you are still struggling”. Parents may acknowledge that all children are different, yet they continue to compare children.
The child surely knows loud and clear that he/she is expected to do better than what he/she is doing now. But the child has absolutely no idea on HOW he/she is supposed to do better. This not only builds a negative self-esteem for the child, but also leads to a bad relation with other siblings/friends/peers.
What actually needs to be done is to patiently observe the child and identify what is holding him/her to perform. Then communicate the feedback to the child. Hence, an effective feedback for instance would be, “I know you are trying your best, however if you keep your body little less stiff, your posture will look better while dancing”.
This requires lot of patience, effort, practice and effective communication from parents/teachers. Each child may take his/her own pace to respond to these feedbacks, however they will surely respond positively and effectively.
Mechanism to provide right knowledge
Confidence is also directly proportional to the knowledge the child has or thinks he/she has in any particular area. Hence its necessary to provide the right knowhow as per the child’s learning capabilities. Sometimes parents can do this themselves and sometimes they may need to take help from professionals. The best results would come from right evaluation of the kids’ capabilities, interests and also on the mechanisms used to impart the knowledge to the child.
Provide Discomfort or Challenges
In today’s era, the children are confronted to little discomfort or challenges. However, in order to raise confident children, one must ensure that the children are capable to respond to any situation or any kind of people around them. The best way to ensure this is to introduce artificial discomfort or challenges in their learning process. Try to encourage the children to practice their learnt skills in front of an unknown audience. The unknown audience can be people walking in the park or some guests at home etc. This activity can be conducted under distant oversight on the children and helps tremendously in building confidence and prepares them to respond effectively in unknown situations.
About Author :
|Jigna is a mother of a 5-year-old boy and had her own initiative called “E3 Drama Conclave”, where she has trained children to be confident and expressive through the medium of speech and drama. She has also written and directed numerous street plays related to the social causes for adults/children. She was an IT Strategy Professional with TCS until her world was born. She is now a freelance writer, researcher and strategy consultant. She is also pursuing her Doctorate in Business Administration from S P Jain School of Global Management.|
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